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The Ball that Counts

so you don't need to
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(+2)
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As I was hacking around the golf course yesterday, my body getting used to the medication I'm now taking, it occured to me more than once that I'd lost count of the number of strokes I'd taken. Now while that wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, it was a competition so I couldn't just make the scores up like I normally do, and the guy who was supposed to be checking my score was also losing count (yes, the round was *that* bad).

So I thought, there must be some way that the golf equipment could keep count of the number of times the ball has been hit.

The ball is the thing that's being hit, and so it should remember how many times it has been hit. The problem is that the ball is hit and bounces on the ground, so we need to distinguish between hits from a club and hits from gravity. Each club should have some radio transmitter whose signal is detected by a receiver (in the ball) but only from a very, very short distance away (like the radius of the ball). Each time the ball detects the presence of the club and registers a hit, it accumulates the number of "hits" recorded. When the ball drops in the hole, a receiver in the hole broadcasts the current count to all and sundry.

OK, there are a few flaws - like what happens if you lose a ball or drop a shot, but it would stop me having to think on a golf course.

PeterSilly, Apr 07 2003

4, four, fore http://www.onlygolf...%202%20piece643.jpg
[thumbwax, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Top Golf http://www.topgolf.co.uk/topgolf.htm
These Guys have Smart Chips in MAXFLI Balls [tomkat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       I am imagining that even a crude accelerometer could discriminate between the mighty acceleration of the drive and virtually any following acceleration.   

       Might not fare so well on putting, though.
bristolz, Apr 07 2003
  

       It could shout very loudly in some way - 25 you plonker.   

       nice day?
po, Apr 07 2003
  

       That's what caddies are for, surely. And partners, for that matter. These seems like a ridiculously complex mechanism for replacing a pen and paper, which probably means it's a sure-fire success.
DrCurry, Apr 07 2003
  

       good idea - instead of all that radio transmitter business, though, it could just count the times that it's hit from a still position. Like you hit it, then it stops counting till it's still again. That should be fairly simple for someone who designs such things (not me, that is).... the only problem now is, like you said, if you lose a ball. Having exhausted everything I know about golf, I will now shut up. Good idea, though. Croissant for you...
stephee, Apr 07 2003
  

       I like this. I think the ball is the only really honest mathematician on the golf course
po, Apr 07 2003
  

       Cute! +
snarfyguy, Apr 07 2003
  

       Or put the counter in the club, so as to avoid coming a cropper when playing cheats prone to James Bondery.
my face your, Apr 07 2003
  

       So the ball keeps contact with your other golf balls, keeping them updated in case it gets lost.
FarmerJohn, Apr 07 2003
  

       Throw in a device that allows you to cheat by resetting the thwack count from a distance.
snarfyguy, Apr 07 2003
  

       The ball could use the club hit energy to generate a ball-specific radioimpulse. Sure, to prevent the accidental output of a signal, the proximity of the club should work as a triger.
Inyuki, Apr 07 2003
  

       [mfy] - actually that was my first thought, and while I've been known to putt with a 3 iron, people do tend to use different clubs, which means that the player would have to remember which clubs were used. I thought the ball would be easier.   

       I like [po]'s suggestion. Maybe enhanced with guffaws of laughter for really duff scores, and "ooo"s for very low scores.
PeterSilly, Apr 08 2003
  

       Oh yeah. There's more than one club. I am a non-golfing fool. But wait! If I'd mentioned* that each of the clubs was connected by a wireless thingmy so that the count in each is updated whenever a stroke is played, then I wouldn't have looked so dim. Oh well.   

       * where 'mentioned' = 'thought about it for even a moment and then mentioned'
my face your, Apr 08 2003
  

       What about if the hole "heard" each golf ball coming, and when a ball finally got sunk, an LCD on the hole would report your score for the hole? Placing your ball on the tee (or some nearby sensor) would transmit your serial number to the hole, and would notify the hole to initialize your score to 0 and listen for strokes. Each club of yours would have your serial number, so that the hole would know who hit the ball.
phundug, Apr 08 2003
  

       Put a transmitter with about a 5 ft range in the ball that sends a signal upon impact. Wear the receiver on your belt that keeps score. Therefore a stroke will only be counted when you are in near proximity to the ball. If you lose a ball, grab another with a transmitter. Only problem is with those really short putts.
TitaniumZ, Jun 27 2003
  

       That assumes you hit it more than 5 feet - not guaranteed in any game I play. Mind you, even the professionals miss small putts.
PeterSilly, Jun 27 2003
  

       Seems like the easiest way to do it would be for the microchip to enforce a 15 or so second delay between allowed hits, a 'block-out' zone, so to speak.. That way you hit it, it registers, then as it bounces around and rolls to a stop, nothing happens. Is it very often that people make two putts less than 15 seconds apart? Only if it's an auto-putt anyway, I think.   

       Seems like you definitely want to keep this in the ball alone though; people do not want to replace all their equipment just to replace the counting sheet. Anyway, +
xercyn, Jun 27 2003
  

       How about a mic in the ball, and an electronic filter that only counts sounds from a predetermined profile of sounds (drives, chips, putts). I'll bet the sound of any club hitting the ball has a distictly different sound than say the ball bouncing on the fairway or hitting a tree or a rock. And I once witnessed an electrical engineer create a filter to debounce a switch in about 7 minutes, so my guess is that this could be done with enough hours invested. Maybe a combination accelerometer and mic. Doesn't sound too difficult, anyway. Except maybe the balls getting too big, with all the junk in it.   

       Wait, forgive the stream of unconsciousness here, but how about phundug's idea(listening device in the hole), but it's in your bag, and you can doublecheck after each swing the lcd on the bag, and you hit a button called 'in the cup' or something when you finally sink it. ok, it's not totally autonomous, but it would probably keep you on track.
oxen crossing, Jun 29 2003
  

       [PeterSilly] you describe this idea as over rated? I beg to differ. I think its awesome, I would give you many buns if I could but other halfbakers ration me only one a day. so here goes. +
nomadic_wonderer, Jan 23 2004
  
      
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